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    Entries in Peter Svidler (56)

    Saturday
    Oct272018

    Saturday Summary: Two Leaders Entering the Final Round of the IOM; Svidler Wins his Match

    The pre-World Championship match festivities are winding down; the match between Peter Svidler and Sam Shankland is over, while there's just one round left to play at the Isle of Man. (But don't fret: there's the Shenzhen Masters starting November 4 with Ding Liren, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Yu Yangyi, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and Nikita Vitiugov. There's no getting away from big chess anymore.)

    Starting with what has finished: Svidler had some advantage with White, but not enough to cash in with a win (and probably not a lot of motivation to do so, either). Shankland drew, so Svidler won the match 3.5-2.5. This was pretty close to what one would expect from their ratings, with Svidler gaining two points from the match. The undercard maintained its "perfection", as Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden Van Foreest drew all six of their games, and thus the match.

    The Isle of Man International finishes tomorrow (Sunday), and the trends were reversed in today's penultimate round. The number of leaders had been increasing every round; now it has shrunk to two. The nine super-GMs had been performing well, with at least eight of the nine enjoying great chances to win the tournament. Now only one of the big nine is within half a point of the lead, and he's not one of the two leaders. Here's the run-down:

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Wang Hao were among the co-leaders, but after their (clean) draw they're half a point back. The next two games involving co-leaders were decisive, however. Arkadij Naiditsch defeated Hikaru Nakamura, first obtaining a positional advantage and then surviving the up-and-down tactical play that resulted from Nakamura's objectively dubious piece sac on move 26. Naiditsch was short of time though and it wasn't a bad practical chance. Nakamura managed to equalize, but then was worse before having one brief chance to be better with 35...Nf4. After 35...Re5? White was (again) winning, and didn't give Black any more opportunities.

    Radoslaw Wojtaszek was the other winner, defeating Michael Adams thanks mostly to Adams' blunder on move 15. It cost him the exchange, and Wojtaszek duly converted his advantage.

    Jeffery Xiong was the last co-leader, but in his long game with Vladimir Kramnik he was always playing defense. He was in trouble shortly after the first time control, but when Kramnik played 46.Bxf2 instead of 46.Kg1 Xiong was able to escape.

    All the games featuring players half a point out of first finished in a draw except for Gawain Jones vs. Levon Aronian. Jones won pretty convincingly, as if he was the former world's #2 rather than a consistent mid-to-upper 2600-level player. Congrats to Jones!

    Here are the leading pairings for the final round:

    1. Naiditsch (6.5) - Wojtaszek (6.5)
    2. Xiong (6) - Jones (6)
    3. Grischuk (5.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (6)
    4. Wang Hao (6) - Anand (5.5)

    The next eight boards are all 5.5 vs. 5.5 pairings, but they are of course outside of the race for first.

    Friday
    Oct262018

    Seven Lead at the Isle of Man; Status Quo Everywhere Else

    1. There were lots of draws at the top in round 7 (of 9) at the 2018 Isle of Man International. The six leaders drew their three games, and only one of the nine players entering the round half a point out of first managed to win. Thus Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Arkadij Naiditsch, Hikaru Nakamura, Jeffery Xiong, Wang Hao and Radoslaw Wojtaszek remain tied for first, now with 5.5 points apiece, and thanks to Michael Adams' win over Abhijeet Gupta he too shares the lead.

    Of the leaders, only Vachier-Lagrave had anything like serious winning chances, but the board was such a mess he preferred the safety of a speedy perpetual. On move 21, it was better to be greedy and recapture with the king, and even after that it wasn't necessary to repeat. That's easy to say with a computer running, but that it's easy doesn't make it false.

    In the next score group, both Vladimir Kramnik (against Vladislav Artemiev) and Richard Rapport (against Gawain Jones) should have won, but they didn't. They're still very much in the hunt with two rounds to go; here are the pairings for round 8:

     

    1. Vachier-Lagrave (5.5) - Wang Hao (5.5)
    2. Naiditsch (5.5) - Nakamura (5.5)
    3. Wojtaszek (5.5) - Adams (5.5)
    4. Kramnik (5) - Xiong (5.5)
    5. Jones (5) - Aronian (5)
    6. Giri (5) - Rapport (5)
    7. Anand (5) - Artemiev (5)
    8. Parligras (5) - Grischuk (5)
    9. Karjakin (5) - Sethuraman (5)
    10. So (4.5) - Shirov (5)

     

    For those who occasionally ask how the top players would do in open tournaments, and if their ratings are protected by their playing mostly amongst themselves, see for yourselves. Except for So, the nine super-GMs are all no more than half a point out of first, and even So, who is having a relatively poor event - the worst of the bunch - is only down 7 rating points for the event.

    2. Game five of the Svidler-Shankland match was drawn. Shankland got nothing from his last white game, and will have to win the last game with Black to tie the match. Game five of the Fedoseev - J. Van Foreest was drawn, just like the first four.

    3. TCEC Superfinal: 26 games are finished, and Stockfish leads 3-0 with 23 draws against Komodo. Only 74 games remain.

    4. Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, Blitz edition. It has been a while since we updated this one. As suggested in the post's title, though, there's nothing new to report, except that more games have been played and we've all aged. Stockfish leads with 92.5/102, five points ahead of Houdini. Lc0 has played one more game, and has 79.5/103, while Komodo is battling with Ethereal and Fire for fourth, not far behind Lc0. All three engines have played 102 games, and Ethereal has 77.5 points while Fire and Komodo have 77. This is just stage 1, with the top 10 engines making it to stage 2 and then the top 4 from stage 2 playing in the third and final stage. So...it'll be a while before it's all over.

    Thursday
    Oct252018

    Six Lead the Isle of Man; Svidler Beat Shankland to Take the Lead

    There were four leaders coming into round 6 of the Isle of Man International, and now there are six. Three were among yesterday's co-leaders, and three are new. The inherited leaders are Jeffery Xiong, Wang Hao, and Arkadij Naiditsch. Naiditsch took the day off, while Xiong made Wang Hao suffer for a long time before acquiescing in a draw.

    The fourth pre-round co-leader, Abhijeet Gupta, had a tougher time, losing quickly to Hikaru Nakamura. Gupta played an interesting pawn sacrifice for play, but in the tactical flurry that followed he was outcalculated by Nakamura and resigned rather than surrendering the exchange. Nakamura thus joined the leaders, as did Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Radoslaw Wojtaszek. MVL sacrificed two pawns for tons of play, although his opponent (Rinat Jumabayev) was objectively okay it was the sort of position where the mistakes are waiting to be made. He "found" one of them with 33.f4, and four moves later it was over. Not all "equal" positions are equal for mere mortals. Wojtaszek's win came mostly due to a blunder. He had some advantage against Rasmus Svane, but nothing near decisive until 21...Nfd7?? 22.Qxf7+! Qxf7 23.Nxf7, when Black can't take on f4 due to 24.Nd6+. From there Wojtaszek had an easy time converting his advantage.

    Mircea Parligras nearly made it a septet, as he was much better-to-winning against Sergey Karjakin for a long time. It came down to a rook ending, and when Parligras missed the subtle 81.Rd4, preferring instead 81.Rd3, Karjakin managed to sneak out with a draw.

    Here are the top pairings for round 7:

    1. Vachier-Lagrave (5) - Naiditsch (5)
    2. Nakamura (5) - Xiong (5)
    3. Wang Hao (5) - Wojtaszek (5)
    4. Artemiev (4.5) - Kramnik (4.5)
    5. Sethuraman (4.5) - Anand (4.5)
    6. Rapport (4.5) - Jones (4.5)
    7. Adams (4.5) - Gupta (4.5)
    8. Antipov (4.5) - Giri (4)

    Also in the 4-point score group are Levon Aronian, Wesley So, and Alexander Grischuk.

    In the match between Peter Svidler and Sam Shankland, Svidler took his first lead of the match with a crushing win in game 4; (up to?) two games remain. Shankland was doing fine with Black, but 18...h4 was a bad idea. Technically, it wasn't a mistake; after 19.Bg5 he could have played 19...Be7!, threatening ...e5, and only after White's queen quits the d-file would he take on g3. But instead he played the natural 19...hxg3, winning a pawn but coming under a crushing attack after 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qh6. Svidler finished in style, but for the most part it was pretty straightforward (though attractive). My guess is that Shankland missed either 19.Bg5, 19...Be7, or Svidler's terrific 25.Kh1, with the idea to meet 25...gxh2 with 26.Rg1+! with a speedy mate. (The undercard match between Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden Van Foreest had another draw: 4 for 4.)

    Selected games (mostly annotated) from the two events, here.

    Tuesday
    Oct232018

    Tuesday Roundup: Shankland-Svidler, TCEC 13 Superfinal, IOM (Updated)

    A quick recap, especially since many of my readers will be watching game 1 of the World Series tonight and/or the HBO special mentioned in the previous post.

    Let's start with the TCEC 13 Superfinal. It's already 4-2 in Stockfish's favor against Komodo (only 94 games to go). The reason I'm mentioning the match again is that games 7 and 8 are (and will be) King's Gambit Accepteds, to coin a word, so they should be entertaining.

    Game 3 of the match between Sam Shankland and Peter Svidler was drawn, making it 1.5-1.5 at the halfway point. Svidler has White in game 4. On the undercard between Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden Van Foreest, game 3 was also draw--that's three for three so far.

    Finally, the round 4 results at the Isle of Man tournament were pretty conventional. Among the perfect scores, Jeffery Xiong drew with White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, while in the other two games the higher-rated player had White and won: Wang Hao against Erwin L'Ami and Arkadij Naiditisch against Pavel Tregubov.

    The highest-rated players in the 2.5 point score group - Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin - all drew, but plenty of other 2.5 pointers won. And the top players who were on 2 points all won: Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Hikaru Nakamura, in each case with White.

    Here are the top round 5 pairings:

     

    1. Wang Hao (4) - Naiditsch (4)
    2. Vachier-Lagrave (3.5) - Parligras (3.5)
    3. Rapport (3.5) - Xiong (3.5)
    4. Gupta (3.5) - Vidit (3.5)
    5. Aronian (3) - Kovalev (3)
    6. L'Ami (3) - Giri (3)
    7. So (3) - Melkumyan (3)
    8. Grischuk (3) - Short (3)
    9. Shirov (3) - Nakamura (3)
    10. Karjakin (3) - Sevian (3)

     

    There are six more boards with 3-pointers, but we'll leave further 3-pointers to the NBA and call it a post.

    UPDATE: The correction has already been made above, which is that all three games of the Fedoseev-Van Foreest match have been drawn.

    Monday
    Oct222018

    Monday Recap: TCEC 13 Superfinal Underway, Svidler Catches Shankland, IOM Continues

    Time for a quick look at the landscape. First, the TCEC Season 13 Superfinal is underway. Stockfish beat Komodo in game 1, with White, and the game 2 rematch with Black will be drawn sooner or later, even if it takes the 50-move rule to put the game out of its misery. Only 98 games to go, after this one.

    Sam Shankland won game 1 of his six-game match with Peter Svidler yesterday; today, Svidler returned the favor; both players won with White. Svidler had a small edge out of the opening, but Shankland's errors on move 20 and especially move 21 landed him in a lost position. A bit of carelessness by Svidler no move 30 gave Shankland a brief chance to survive, maybe, but his 31st-33rd moves put an end to Black's hopes.

    At the Isle of Man, once again the very top players went undefeated, but - once again - didn't win all their games. (I believe that one and only one 2700 lost in round 3 - see below.) Now, after three rounds, only six players still have perfect scores. Here are the top pairings for round 4:

    1. Jeffery Xiong (!) - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (who had his birthday today; he's 28)

    2. Wang Hao - Erwin L'ami

    3. Arkadij Naiditsch - Pavel Tregubov

    Lots of great players have 2.5, including Boris Gelfand and Levon Aronian, who are paired on board 4. Other stars with 2.5 points are Wesley So, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin. The lowest-rated player in that scoregroup is young superstar Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, who drew Peter Leko in round 2 and beat Pavel Eljanov (2703) in round 3. (He'll have Vidit in round 4.)

    How tough is the tournament? Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Hikaru Nakamura are all stuck on 2 points apiece.

    Sunday
    Oct212018

    Sunday Summary: TCEC Cup, Shankland-Svidler, Isle of Man Int'l

    One event came to an end today, another one started, one is ongoing and another one begins tomorrow. All the chess action a fan can stand, and then some.

    1. TCEC Cup. The 8-game finale between Stockfish and Houdini was close. The first six games were drawn, and then Stockfish won a miniature. Houdini didn't manage anything serious in the rematch (the openings are in pairs, giving each engine a chance to have White in the same line), and when it finished in a draw Stockfish once again proved the strongest "pound-for-pound" program. (I'm excluding Alpha Zero, which used hardware that vastly exceeded anything Stockfish had in their match last December.)

    Right now they're playing some nonsense games on the site, making Stockfish play 1.e4 e5 2.Ke2 against other top engines, but at some point tomorrow (Monday) the TCEC 13 Final between Stockfish and Komodo will get underway.

    2. Shankland-Svidler. Sam Shankland won a nice game in the opener of his six-game match with Peter Svidler. About a week ago Svidler looked like a significant favorite, but after his mostly disastrous European Club Cup and his loss in this game, it's hard to say who's the favorite. And as it turns out, Shankland has just passed Svidler on the live rating list. (Regardless of what happens in this match, it's still too soon to think that Shankland has surpassed Svidler as a chess player, but he's still an impressive player on the way up. At 27, he's a bit older than the usual rising star, but if we focus on his trajectory instead of his age there's reason to think he could still move quite a ways up the rating list.) On the undercard match between Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden Van Foreest, game 1 ended in a draw.

    3. Isle of Man International. The 2700 crowd had an even tougher day today, though they generally managed to avoid the worst outcome. On board 1 Levon Aronian was losing two moves before the end to the brilliantly named Dennis Wagner, but Wagner's 51.Ka3?? was the wrong way to protect the a-pawn. Moving either rook to g4 would have kept a winning position; instead, he resigned after Black's 52nd move. Viswanathan Anand only managed to draw against Robert Hess with the white pieces - and that was an achievement, as he was worse almost throughout and losing for a while too. Other 2700s were nipped for draws as well, and some high-2600s lost, but as far as I can tell no 2700s lost. However, while most of the 2700s who were nipped for draws in round 1 bounced back with wins today, two didn't: Vladimir Kramnik, who failed to defeat Alina Kashlinskaya (who drew with Anish Giri in round 1!); and Michael Adams, who drew with Irina Bulmaga.

    Click here for Stockfish's win over Houdini and Shankland's win over Svidler, with my light commentary.

    Friday
    Oct192018

    Starting Tomorrow: Isle of Man, Svidler-Shankland

    I hope you're all enjoying your day off after the European Club Cup, because tomorrow not (just) one but two high-level events get underway: the Isle of Man Open and a six-game match between Peter Svidler and Sam Shankland. (The latter is part of a chess festival in Hoogeveen, in the Netherlands.)

    The IoM is an open event, as stated, but at the top the field is strong enough to create a Candidates field: Anish Giri, Vladimir Kramnik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Sergey Karjakin, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, and Viswanathan Anand are the top eight.

    Good times, fellow chess fans!

    Friday
    Aug242018

    More St. Louis Action Coming Up: Chess960 Matches Starring Kasparov

    Here's the quick summary: five 20-game matches, with six rapid and 14 blitz games taking place from September 11-14 of this year. All the games are Chess960 (aka Fischerrandom), and the positions will be unknown to the players until the start of the round. Here are the pairings:

    • Garry Kasparov - Veselin Topalov
    • Hikaru Nakamura - Peter Svidler
    • Wesley So - Anish Giri
    • Sam Shankland - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    • Levon Aronian - Leinier Dominguez

    Thursday
    Jun142018

    Daily Roundup: Leuven, Svidler-Yu, Navara-Harikrishna

    It's rapid & blitz time in the chess world, as not one, and not two, but three elite quick-play events transpired today.

    We already know about Leuven, the first Grand Chess Tour tournament of 2018. Today was the last day of the rapid portion of the event, and Wesley So continues to enjoy a dominant lead. He defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the first game of the day, then drew the next two to finish with 7/9. Or rather 14/18, since the rapid games count double compared to the blitz games coming Friday and Saturday. Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave have 11 points apiece, Sergey Karjakin and Nakamura have 10, and on it goes: Mamedyarov 9, Grischuk 8, Caruana 7, and Anand and Giri have 5 each.

    Next, Peter Svidler played a rapid  and blitz match against Yu Yangyi that started Tuesday and finished today (Thursday), consisting of eight rapid games (which counted double) and ten blitz games. Svidler massacred Yu in the rapid, going 6-2 thanks to a five-game winning streak, but after going +1 in the first five blitz games it was Yu who delivered the beatings, scoring 4.5 points in the last five games. Yu thus won the blitz portion 6.5-3.5. It wouldn't have been enough to save the match even without the double scoring in the rapid, but with it Svidler's final margin of victory was 15.5-10.5. (Offiical site here; this will be more helpful to non-Chinese readers.)

    Finally, David Navara and Pentala Harikrishna are halfway through a rapid-only match, and the score is tied 3-3 with one win apiece. As with Leuven, play continues through Saturday.

    Friday
    Jan192018

    Wijk aan Zee 2018, Round 6: Mamedyarov the Sole Leader

    It was a strange round as White managed to parlay three winning positions into a glorious total of half a point. Two of the leaders, Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand, faced off briefly before calling it a day, giving Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to take the lead by himself with a win over Baskaran Adhiban.

    It seemed instead that Mamedyarov was headed for the third place tie. Adhiban got to the time control with an edge, and after Mamedyarov's 41st move Adhiban's advantage was enough to win. But there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, and Adhiban first lost the win, then the advantage, then equality, and finally his last chance to fight for survival. When it rains, it pours, and now Mamedyarov is in clear first with +3 while Adhiban is tied for last at -4.

    The day's other winner was Wesley So, and he too was losing with Black. Wei Yi's enterprising chess had him in great shape for a win and a +1 score overall, but he fell to pieces in time trouble. So is now tied for second place with Giri and Anand.

    Vladimir Kramnik could have been a part of that tie as well, but he gave away a big advantage (like Adhiban and Wei Yi, he too had White) and Gawain Jones slipped away. Kramnik remains at +1, while Jones is playing over his head and retains an equal score.

    The most exciting draw of the round, and probably the most exciting game, period, was Peter Svidler's game with Magnus Carlsen. There were plenty of tactics, sacrifices, and material imbalances, and both sides were simultaneously attacking each other's king. Better yet, their personal post-mortem was caught on video - see below. (I've done my best to include their analysis in the game file, too.)

    The other two games (Fabiano Caruana vs. Maxim Matlakov and Hou Yifan vs. Sergey Karjakin) were "clean" draws, i.e. there were no big errors or missed chances.

    The games, with my analyses of four of the games, are here. The video follows the round 7 pairings, which are: 

    • Carlsen (3.5) - Hou Yifan (1)
    • Jones (3) - Svidler (3)
    • Anand (4) - Kramnik (3.5)
    • So (4) - Giri (4)
    • Mamedyarov (4.5) - Wei Yi (2.5)
    • Matlakov (3) - Adhiban (1)
    • Karjakin (3) - Caruana (2)